Saturday, 11 February 2017

Lucy Wadham: Mixing it with the Best

Nowadays, Lucy Wadham is an established Flat and National Hunt Trainer, but her involvement in racing began on the point-to-point circuit, where she spent 10 highly successful years riding and training, under permit, while still pursuing a career as BBC journalist. Indeed, she saddled her first winner under Rules, Fort Hall, in a novices’ hunter chase at Huntingdon in May, 1990. Fort Hall collected the princely sum of £1,510 in winning prize money for his troubles.

Lucy subsequently moved to her current yard at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, Suffolk and took out a full training licence in 1997. After a modest start – her highest total in her first six seasons as a licensed trainer was 14 – Lucy enjoyed her first high-profile success with The Dark Lord in the Lombard Properties Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, 2004.

Her best horse in the early years of her career was United, one of several horses that she and her husband, Justin, bought in Germany. Indeed, the Desert King filly provided the yard with its first Grade 1 winner in the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at Punchestown in April, 2005, drawing clear in the closing stages to win by 12 lengths. United was due to run in the Prix Alain Du Breil - Course de Haies d’Été at Auteil two months later, but suffered a deep digital flexor tendon injury and missed not only the race, but the rest of the season. She never quite hit the same heights again, but did manage to win five more races for the yard, including the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in 2007 and the Warfield Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot in 2009.

More recently, Le Reve won the Betfred Masters Chase at Sandown two years running in 2015 and 2016 and had the distinction of being the first runner for the yard in the Grand National at Aintree in 2016. He didn’t run with much distinction, though, eventually finishing eleventh of 16 finishers, beaten 76¼ lengths, behind the winner Rule The World.

Lucy didn’t saddle a runner on the Flat until 2003 and didn’t saddle another until 2008, but opened her account in that sphere in convincing style when Enforce, ridden by William Buick, won the Listed Conqueror Stakes at Newbury in May that year. Since then, Lucy has won several more Listed and Pattern races on the Flat, including the Warwickshire Oaks with Cassique Lady in 2009, the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket with Dorcas Lane and the Dick Hern Fillies’ Stakes at Haydock with Crystal Gal in 2011 and the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock with Lady Tiana in 2015.

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